Kevin’s Christmas present to me this year was Barry Manilow tickets. Although I wish it was actually Barry coming to my house, I happily accepted the tickets. I flew to Vegas on Tuesday and watched Barry Wednesday night. This would be my fourth Barry concert. My first was with Kevin in Iowa. It was two hours long and ten years ago. When we lived in New York, I found out that Barry would be performing at Bryant Park for GMA and so I took the train in. I was eight months pregnant, but the free shirt still fit me. Barry ignored the crowd until the film was rolling, but I decided he was unhappy because he had gained some weight. Two years ago was my first Vegas concert and I was four rows back. When he did hip thrusts, it was definitely in 3D. I think I flinched a few times. I bought a pink hat with Manilow in sequince and a flip book where I could watch his hip thrusts any time I felt the need. My last time was Wednesday. Kevin thought it was Barry’s last concert ever, but he is actually moving down the strip to the Paris. His first show is in three months. This time I bought a Barry watch and a shirt for Katherine that says “Manilow Girl.” I would like to pass Barry on.
I thought I was a fan. I thought I could be classed as a Fanilow. I thought I had enough memorabilia to classify. Then, the night of the show, I decided to go to dinner at Bennihana’s. It is an open seating restaurant where you watch the chef cook your dinner at your table. I was grouped with three couples. I kept to myself until I realized that the two women to my write were discussing the Paris. Woman #1 was saying how she spent the day at the Paris taking pictures of the Barry pictures. She had gone to the top of the Eiffel Tower because it had a really good view of the Barry poster still on the side of the Hilton and it was only $15. I guess there were also pictures of Barry at City Center. Woman #2 said she felt bad that she couldn’t go this time, but would go next time. I asked them where they were from. #1 was from Florida and #2 was from California. I asked how they met and they said through the concerts. There are 20 of them who have become friends because they go to the Barry Manilow concert a few times a year. A FEW TIMES A YEAR.
They told me about how they had seen Barry a few times in the hotel getting a drink, but they respect him and keep their distance. The stalkers are called Maniloonies. #2 paid for her meal with a Manilow credit card. They go to the Manilow Convention every year. Since going to Vegas, it has become more elaborate with shows and dinners and Barry sometimes drops in and says hi. I had no idea. I didn’t realize that women went to the concerts monthly and that they all were in the front two rows and that there were special ways to get those seats and that they all wore special clothes to the final show and that there were certain words they sang to certain songs really loud. I thought I was over the top with a watch, but I think a credit card is above me. You don’t even get frequent flyer miles to Vegas; it just donates money to charities. (I need benefits from my credit card. I am not that giving) They all wore head bans on them and made signs to say goodbye. I sat next to an elderly couple and a ten year old. I don’t think he and his thirteen year old sister wanted to be there. They didn’t seem to know any of the songs like their mom did. The thirteen year old did have a nice bracelet from Tiffany’s and a Burberry coat. I figured she must have been bribed to come to Barry.
So I finished my dinner in a bit of a slump. I had lived a lie. I thought I was a huge Barry fan, but I was really just a 3 on a scale of 10. I realized that I’m not really a fanatic about anything. I thought I was eccentric, but I’m starting to think I am not. I am just a normal person who has seen Barry 4 times. So now I am thinking of becoming a Maniloonie. I think I have decided that if I run a 5k by July, I am going to the Manilow Convention. If Annie runs a 5k by then, I am taking her with me. I think I may be scared to become a fanatic alone.